I am saddened to report that John Guenther began guarding heaven’s gates at 2030 on Oct 29, 2009.
His wife Gerrie Guenther told me to pass the word and that ceremonies and services were still in the planning stages. John will be cremated and his remains interred at Arlington, but as many know there is a scheduling issue on that process. As I know more I will pass it along.
John Guenther enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1948. In September 1950 Corporal Guenther landed at Inchon with the Seventh Marines. In November and December, Sergeant Guenther was in the S2 during and in the Chosin Reservoir battle. He served other challenging/tough tours in Cuba, Vietnam, and East Germany. He was a great Marine who embodied the full measure and meaning of Semper Fidelis. John served more than thirty years in the Marine Corps and, upon retirement, continued to serve in a civilian capacity, rising to the civilian equivalent of BGen and serving as the Assistant Director of Marine Corps Intelligence.
Longer more detailed service history below the fold, and details on cards, service, and burial.
LtCol John J. Guenther, USMC(Ret) – AFIO was saddened to receive news from the Marine Corps Interrogator-Translator Teams Association [MCITTA] of the passing of LtCol John J. Guenther, USMC (Ret) on 29 October 2009, with Gerrie, his wife of 50+ years by his side. John Guenther was awarded AFIO’s David Atlee Phillips Founders Award in 2000 for service to AFIO and the Intelligence Community. He was recognized by all who knew him as a Marine’s Marine. The following is reprinted from the MCITTA announcement: John Guenther was a leader of Marines, a mentor to many, and a creator and pioneer of so many innovations in the Marine Corps intelligence field. His presence and inspiration to so many will be sorely missed. We are grateful for what he shared with us. Since the inception of MCITTA as an organization in 2003, John immediately joined our ranks as a member, having been a pioneer in the Interrogator Translator (0251) field. An avid supporter of our Association, he attended most of our annual Gatherings only missing the past few because of health reasons. John Guenther enlisted in the Marine Corps in January 1948 and retired in February 1994 having served in Marine Corps intelligence billets for over 45 years and in 19 different enlisted, commissioned and civilian ranks. When he retired in 1994, was serving as the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at Headquarters Marine Corps. In September 1950, Corporal Guenther landed at Inchon with the Seventh Marines; in November and December, Sergeant Guenther was with the regimental S-2 Section in the Chosin Reservoir battle. As a Staff Sergeant, he was an honor graduate of the Army Counterintelligence Agent course in 1952; as a Master Sergeant he took honors in Russian Language at the Naval Intelligence School in 1960. While assigned to a Naval Security Group activity in Morocco in 1961 performing Signals Intelligence duties, MSgt Guenther was selected as an Intelligence Limited Duty Officer (MOS:0202). First Lieutenant Guenther was the Assistant G-2, Ground Defense Force, Guantanamo, during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and went aboard the DLG-12 as a Russian voice translator conveying messages to the Soviet ships taking missiles back to the Soviet Union. Captain Guenther’s first Vietnam tour was as the CI/Security Officer for the Maritime Operations Branch of MACSOG; his second tour as a Major was as Staff CI Officer for III MAF with responsibilities for CI activities in the five northern provinces. Lieutenant Colonel Guenther served in East Germany as the Naval Representative and Joint Operations Officer with the U. S. Military Liaison Mission to Group of Soviet Forces Germany from 1974 to 1977.
He returned to HQMC for his final year of active duty where he was the first Branch Head of the National Intelligence Activities Branch (INTX) responsible for new satellite programs and Marine Corps participation in the National Foreign Intelligence Community. He later served as the Marine Corps representative/faculty member at the Defense Intelligence School/College, where he later attended the Defense Attaché Course in preparation for the East Germany assignment. While assigned to the Defense Intelligence College, LtCol Guenther originated the first Bibliography of Intelligence reflecting his intense interest in the history and literature of intelligence. Lieutenant Colonel Guenther’s military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Combat V, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, the Navy Presidential Unit Citation and numerous other service and campaign ribbons, including the prized Enlisted Good Conduct Medal with three stars. His civilian awards include the rank of Meritorious Executive in the Senior Executive Service issued by President George H. W. Bush, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal granted by the Director of Central Intelligence and the Department of the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award issued by the Secretary of the Navy. On 19 July 1996 at the tenth anniversary of the Navy Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Dam Neck, Virginia, the Marine Corps wing of the new training building was dedicated as Guenther Hall in recognition of Lieutenant Colonel Guenther’s life time contributions to Marine Corps intelligence.
Since his retirement, Mr. Guenther maintained an active role in all the Marine Corps intelligence associations, having held an MOS in every specialty of Marine Corps intelligence. Mr. Guenther’s main focus was on researching and writing the history of Marine Corps intelligence, which he considered to have been a neglected topic by Marine Corps historians. His tireless efforts received the strong support of the Marine Corps Directors of Intelligence and the President of the Marine Corps University. Although he was unable to complete this monumental work, he has laid a lasting foundation and upon completion, will be a testimony to his many years of dedicated service to the Marine Corps and his fellow Marines.
For those wishing to send cards, Gerrie’s address is:
900 N. Taylor St., Arlington VA 22203
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:30 PM on Wednesday, November
4, at St. Agnes Catholic Church 2002 N. Randolph Street, Arlington.
On January 14, 2010 there will be a funeral Mass at the Ft. Myer Chapel at
12:45 PM followed by interment with full military honors in Arlington